Feeling overwhelmed seems to be a part of life. Things pile up and it feels like those to-do lists are just too long. As a mom with six kids (yes, you read that right, 6 kids!), and a Seattle family and newborn photography business, overwhelm can appear often.
Yet, the first step is knowing that while feeling overwhelmed is a part of life, it is how you respond that is what is important.
This is not meant to belittle huge feelings or the need to speak to a therapist if you’re feelings of overwhelm are all-consuming. So please, seek help if you’re in that place.
Often feelings of overwhelm can come from a lack of perspective. No doubt, you are tackling a ton each day. Many responsibilities fall on your shoulders, with more things to do piling on. Trying to remember that the dog needs to go to the vet, the kids need to be picked up at 3 pm, you need to write a blog for your business, and rotate that laundry, and so on, would make anyone feel in over their head. Not to mention the added pressure we can feel from places like Instagram and other social media platforms.
However, there is a simple strategy that can help you get back on track and take a deep breath of relief.
When feeling overwhelmed do a brain dump.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed it can feel like a million thoughts are rushing around your head at the same time. Trying to hold and remember all of those things is overwhelming in itself.
A brain dump allows you to set down all of those thoughts, ideas, tasks, things, onto paper. It can help you find that perspective, feel a little clearer and lighter, and thus reduce those feelings of overwhelm.
How do you do a brain dump?
Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes.
Then write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind. (This is big when you’re feeling overwhelmed). This is not the time for judgment. Write everything down. Include that you need to pick up bananas at the store, that you want to reach out to that business for a partnership, and that you need to make a dentist appointment for the kids.
Nothing is too big or too small.
Again, to be most effective when you’re feeling overwhelmed you need to allow yourself to write it all down. It’s like emptying your head onto the paper. By not allowing judgment (i.e. “That’s a stupid task, or that’s too big of a dream.”) you’re training your brain that this isn’t a safe space. Then when you’re not just using a brain dump for feeling overwhelmed, but for setting goals, you may think smaller.
This next step is key for helping when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Once you have completed your brain dump, it’s time to review what you’ve written.
This is important for helping with those feelings of overwhelm.
Look at your list and break things into categories. You could have business tasks, appointments to make, things to get at the grocery store, family things, etc. There is no write or way to categorize things, just simply putting things into groups will help you in the next step.
Finally, prioritize each item on your list.
Often when we are feeling overwhelmed it’s because we are telling ourselves everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW! However, that’s not the case. Things can wait.
With your categorized list, label things with deadlines of:
- This Week
- This Month
- This Quarter
- With Help
Are you already starting to feel a little lighter? Are those feelings of overwhelm calming down a bit? I thought so!
Looking at your list and seeing what actually needs to be done right now and what can wait will be a game changer when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Further, seeing where you can ask for help will allow you to take a few things off your plate.
Personally, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I will perform a brain dump. Then I can see what I need to ask my husband to take on so that I can let them go in my brain.
Brain dumps may be done with a focus, too.
Brain dumps are great when feeling overwhelmed overall. However, they are also a wonderful tool for specific areas of your life or business.
Try doing a brain dump with a purpose in mind. For example, maybe you’re setting fitness goals for the month. Doing a brain dump can help you come up with not only what those goals might be, but it can also help you with what you could do to reach those goals.
You can use them in business, personal life, anything really.
It may sound simple, however, this strategy is very effective in helping with feeling overwhelmed.
Life will come at you, things will pile up, and feeling overwhelmed is sure to follow. However, when you take a step back, write it all out, and look at all those things clogging your brain, things can feel more manageable.
For more productivity tips to help keep you from feeling overwhelmed while still crushing those business goals (without sacrificing your family and things you love) join my newsletter for photographers.